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Physical threats

Web servers must face a host of safety and security concerns. In a number of ways web servers are vulnerable to threats that can potentially lead to temporary loss of service, corruption of information, security of data in transmission and storage, and destruction of software and/or hardware applications and equipment that can disrupt or cause permanent harm that can’t be rectified.

In any of these scenarios, the costs are staggering for the maintenance of security systems to protect the servers and consumers alike, and the costs of compromised security are catastrophic, leading web servers to go to any ends to assure that their systems are safeguarded. The locations of web servers play an issue in security issues from attacks. Physical threats to headquarters that house banks of sophisticated computers and corollary systems that provide web server functions include fire, flood, earthquake, hurricane, and tornado.

There is even the remote threat of terrorism in the wake of 9/11. These events can potentially destroy the physical systems. Providing protection to physical systems can include buttressing of the buildings that house the hardware systems to withstand earthquakes, and tie-down systems that defend against hurricanes. Having back-up systems at other physical locations to take over operations in the event of systems failure due to these types of situations can also provide service continuity.

In the case of fire, certain other precautions, such as foam or powder manual fire extinguishers to put out small fires before they become big ones are in use instead of water or liquid extinguishers in canisters or mounted in ceilings. These can exacerbate electrical fires and cause widespread hardware destruction. Heat of space where huge complicated and heat-sensitive hardware is located is a serious concern as well. Air conditioning must keep the equipment below temperatures that can occur during summer months which would reach levels that would damage the equipment.

Disconnections of active service between web servers and consumers are vulnerabilities that happen with regularity that cause a numerous set of concerns due to down time. No one wants to have their connection interrupted, be it for personal uses, or conducting business. Dial-up ISP servers are the worst offenders, while high speed cable connections have them rarely. Disconnections cause downtime, and lost data, and disrupt time-sensitive materials and communications. These annoyances can disrupt major and minor business dealings, resulting in lost productivity.

Public image, and the appearances of capability and responsibility of companies as they struggle to compete in a business world that focuses on results, and the lack of results, brings the verdict that individuals who complain of system problems as “making excuses “, and therefore less competent. Personal business image can be negatively affected, altering impressions of competence that result in passing over of promotions, or being given sought after accounts or projects. The disconnections also reduce the flow of whole work schedules, and can actually make or break a crucial deal, and affect business dramatically.

Web server attacks most often come in the form of “viruses”, and spy ware. Viruses come in different, evolving and ever more complex types and varieties. There are common email viruses, where the virus is included in an attachment. Then there are piggy-back viruses that install themselves to websites and software downloads, automatically entering your computer by “hitching a ride”. The most successful ones use methods like disguising themselves in curiosity peaking statements like “still love you, just a note”, or other imposter designs to get you to open up the email, where the virus lies, waiting.

Once inside, they wreak havoc with files and memory systems, typically involving complete system crashes and memory destruction of the individual PC. Masking your server system is one way to minimize threats from a crowd of attackers, hackers, and other intruders. “Crackers, Black Hat Hackers, and Script Kiddies” are the terms for the predominant types in the world of hacking. Software version and vendor points of origin are ways the server can be identified by these culprits, and when masked by security measures, are effectively reduced as targets for entry of the system.

Spy ware is a more recent and nasty set of programming threat. Spy ware programs take over your browser settings; steal data from your files including pass codes and personal data from your files for use by computer marketing companies trying to gather consumer information. They turn PC’s into slow- moving “zombies” that are redirected to sites under direction of the spy ware and frequently result in system crashes. In worst case scenarios, they steal sensitive personal information such as social security numbers, bank records, credit card information, and more, for the purposes of committing “Identity Theft”.

Web servers become victims as more and more time is lost in legitimate traffic and surfing, which is the mainstay of web server end uses. There are newer threats emerging, such as “phishing”, and other phenomenon. There are entire industries that address “hacking”, viruses, and spy ware. There are also a number of services that are devoted to personal and business computing security from these threats. Security and vulnerability assessments, consultation, and protection services have sprung up all over the net, from giants such as Microsoft to small private firms, both nationally and internationally.

Servers also lose as these threats are directly aimed at servers themselves, and a great deal of money has to be spent to assure that the servers can meet these threats. Despite the many precautions and steps taken to thwart viruses and spy ware, and hackers, additional time and resources must be used to fix the problems created when these dangers do succeed in their mission. Sometimes there are other activities that hackers like to perpetrate. They will tamper with data, intercepting messages and altering their content.

They sometimes create information denial, and disclosure of sensitive information Elevation of privileges, where security access is modified to include those who are not cleared. The vulnerabilities are many, yet there are many resources to combat these dangers available, and they are constantly changing and becoming more effective.

Sources: Internet by Joe Lima. updated 03. 2004. ” Mask your server for enhanced security. ” www. microsoft. com. MDSN Library 2004. ” Identifying Potential Threats. ” Book Amir Hartman & John Sifonis ( with John Kador ). Net Ready. New York. McGraw Hill. 2000

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